*** DEBUG END ***

Priest barred after 1994 incident with 16-year-old

16 April 2021

Church of England/James Atkinson

Stock image

Stock image

A BISHOP’s Disciplinary Tribunal for the diocese of Sheffield has ruled that the Revd Graeme Rainey be prohibited from exercising his office as a priest for eight years.

The prohibition comes after an admission of a single occasion of sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old boy, “AB”, in the summer of 1994, when Mr Rainey was aged 27 and serving his title. A further allegation of an ongoing sexual relationship into the autumn of that year was dismissed by agreement.

AB told his mother in 2007, but made no formal complaint of abuse until 2017, when he contacted the NSPCC and the police were informed. No prosecution followed, nor was any formal barring decision made.

Mr Rainey, however, resigned from his post as head of boarding and designated safeguarding lead at an independent school. He had been working in education since leaving his first parish in 1996.

The tribunal took into account Mr Rainey’s admission of guilt, as well as the fact that they were judging events on a single day, “with no evidence of repetition in any other context in the last, now, 27 years”.

None the less, the tribunal ruled: “In engaging in sexual contact as he did, in our judgment he unacceptably crossed an impermissible physical, emotional, psychological and sexual boundary with someone under 18, a child, with whom he was in a pastoral relationship of responsibility and to whom he plainly owed a duty of care and protection.

“He allowed friendship to deteriorate, wholly inappropriately, into romantic attachment and then, exploiting AB’s feelings, immaturity and confusion, indulged his desires physically in a context where AB’s wellbeing and safety plainly demanded care and protection, not sexual interference.

“This was, in our judgment, a plain, even gross, betrayal of ministerial and personal responsibility.”

There was no question of removal from office, since Mr Rainey had not held a church post nor even permission to officiate in more than a decade. The judgment states: “In the loss of his last employment he has, without doubt, paid a heavy price for his historic wrongdoing. We were told that, though not barred, he now intended to seek work which did not necessitate contact with children or vulnerable adults.”

In addition to the eight-year prohibition, Mr Rainey’s name would be entered on the Archbishops’ list.

The tribunal expressed its regret that it had taken three years to conclude the Clergy Discipline Measure process, causing “an undeserved source of additional anxiety to complainant and respondent”.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

tickets available



Festival of Faith and Literature

28 February - 2 March 2025

The festival programme is soon to be announced sign up to our newsletter to stay informed about all festival news.

Festival website


ViSIt our Events page for upcoming and past events 

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)